Standing outside a London mainline station, waiting for a taxi, I lit my first cigarette for three hours, leaned back against the wall and inhaled a lungful of cool grey smoke and felt an agreeable tingling spread throughout my body. Do you smoke? You really should give it a go. Very agreeable experience.
“Excuse me,” the voice said, with studied politeness, “would you mind putting out that cigarette.” The absence of a question mark in that sentence is an accurate reflection of the tone in which it was said.
I looked up. It was a short, bearded cock of a man, swathed in self-righteousness. More to the point, he was an American.
“My family doesn’t care to breathe in your second-hand smoke,” he added. I looked around in mystification. What f***ing family? There was no-one in sight.
“Um, I’m sorry, “ I said. “but what family?”
He turned and pointed about forty yards away where two spoiled sub-teen female brats were sitting sulkily on a collection of luggage. This arsehole must have espied me lighting up and immediately sprinted the distance between us out of a sort of burning hatred or, as Slavoj Zizek puts it, an incalculable narcissism. Whatever way you look at it, his action was deranged. How on earth should one respond to people like this?
Only language they understand, really.
Bravo, Rod, bravo. Oh, and thanks for the drink you bought me at that FOREST dinner a few weeks ago...